American monastics have a great devotion for St Herman. The above unique icon (at a small women's monastery in the American West) depicts St Herman writing (from his cell on Spruce Island) his well-known letter to Abbot Nazarius back at his beloved former monastery in Russia:
"For in my mind I imagine my beloved Valaam, and constantly behold it across the great ocean..."
You can read about St Herman's letters to Valaam through this link. Scroll down for more extensive resources on this beloved, humble monk who speaks to us today and calls us to follow the infinitely humble One, our Lord, God and Savior Jesus Christ.
St Herman, Elder and Wonderworker of Alaska
Commemorated August 9 (glorification) and December 13 (repose).
Winter 2020 Schedule:
Saturday, December 12, 6:00pm - Great Vespers
Sunday, December 13, 9:30am - Divine Liturgy
Scroll down for our extensive collection of resources on this humble monk and wonderworker...
This delightful video captures the feel of making a pilgrimage to Kodiak, Alaska, and from there, by boat to Spruce Island to venerate our beloved St Herman.
Featuring Metropolitan Tikhon leading the faithful, with Archbishop David of Sitka, and Fr Andrew, abbot of St Michael Skete on Spruce Island, and with glimpses of the chapel at Spruce Island, St Herman's Spring, and some of the many trails, and of course, Monk's Lagoon and more...
For anyone who has ever made this journey, you will be moved to tears at again seeing this holy and beautiful place. We hope that everyone may be able to make a pilgrimage here, to the womb, as it were, of Orthodoxy in America...
2020 marks the fiftieth anniversary of the glorification of St Herman of Alaska, by the then newly autocephalous Orthodox Church in America (OCA), and mirrored by the joint glorification of Elder Herman by the Russian Church Abroad (ROCOR). Scroll down for some notes on the significance of ROCOR performing its liturgical 'Amen' to the OCA's inaugural act of entering into the calendar the first saint to shine forth in North America.
In honor of this landmark anniversary, we are presenting here an index (with links) of recent articles on our beloved Father Herman.
Be sure to scroll down for our extensive collection of resources on this epochal, shining figure, "the North Star of Christ's Holy Church," as one of the hymns addresses St Herman, including video, audio, articles, books, photos, icons, services to St Herman, and much, much more.
Proceedings of the 91st US Congress, held in 1970, including a life of St Herman, and fascinating historical details.
Seeing the glorious life of podvig of Father Herman, seeing his miracles, seeing the fulfillment of his prophecies and finally his blessed falling asleep, "generally all the local inhabitants have an awesome respect for him as a holy ascetic, and are entirely convinced of his having pleased God," witnessed Bishop Peter.
Brotherhood of St. Herman of Alaska - From the Service to our Holy and God-Bearing Father, Saint Herman, Wonderworker of Alaska.
And here, in the midst of this pre-Christmas joy so filled with impressions, there enters into the American consciousness a Russian monk from Valaam who was also connected with children, coziness, spice-cake, pretzels, covered by the Alaskan snow—St. Herman the Wonderworker of America.
St. Herman’s Letters to Abbot Nazarius - St. Herman even in Alaska considered himself to be under obedience to his spiritual guide and abbot, Fr. Nazarius of Valaam Monastery. Whenever he had the time he would write to Valaam with reports on the missionary team’s work in the Alaskan territories among the native peoples.
On November 9 the all-Russian conference, “The Legacy of St. Herman of Alaska: Research and Perpetuation of his Memory (dedicated to the 265th anniversary of the birth and the 180th anniversary of the death of this distinguished native of Ryazan Region” was held in Kadom (in Ryazan region) as part of the St. Herman Meetings. Kadom, as new archival research has discovered, was where St. Herman was born.
Matushka Galina Tregubov and Lee Browne-Beed - When they finally started their exciting, but extremely difficult, ascent, everything went just fine for a few days. But at the end of one day, on a narrow path, they met an old, strange-looking man in a long dark robe. He was walking in the opposite direction, down the mountain. In a friendly manner he greeted them and advised them to turn around and return to the base camp as quickly as possible because the weather was changing into a severe storm.
Alexei Krindatch - A footpath at the south end of the beach leads to the Meeting of the Lord Chapel. Fr. Herman’s favorite feast was the Meeting of the Lord, and it was to this event that he chose to dedicate his chapel. Time and nature have left nothing of the original building, but on the site of the first chapel is a small church, modeled after the original drawings. The chapel’s walls are covered with beautiful frescoes depicting the life of St. Herman.
This is the example of Christ himself, abused and executed by those whose very task it had been to await and receive the promised Messiah. Christ endured for the love of the world, and the Kodiak missionaries endured for the love of the Alaskan people. May we all receive Christ with the eagerness and patience of the Christians of Alaska. May our lives bear the fruits of the humble, uncomplaining love practiced by those who evangelize us.
Commemorated July 2/15 - The holy, glorious, right-victorious hieromartyr Juvenaly of Alaska, Protomartyr of America, was a member of the first group of Orthodox missionaries who came from the monastery of Valaam to preach the Word of God to the native inhabitants of Alaska. He was martyred while evangelizing among the Eskimos on the mainland of Alaska in 1796. His feast day is celebrated on July 2, and he is also commemorated with all the saints of Alaska (September 24), and with the first martyrs of the American land (December 12).
Many saints grew in holiness to the point where, by God's grace, they restored around them the original harmony with creation which Adam enjoyed in Paradise. One thinks immediately of St Seraphim of Sarov and St Sergius of Radonezh who befriended wild bears, or of St Paul of Obnora who was beheld surrounded peacefully by forest animals. Even in our own time there are testimonies of monastics living in the wilderness peacefully with wild deer and even mountain lions. Elder Herman is remembered for a gentle ermine who was utterly devoted to the Saint. When asked what he thought of the animals, a recent American monastic elder replied, "They have something to do with paradise."
2010 marked the 40th anniversary of the glorification of St Herman of Alaska in 1970 by the OCA, and by the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia (ROCOR) in separate services held simultaneously in San Francisco.*
In honor of this festal and historic occasion, we launched in August of 2010 this new page to collect in one place as many significant resources as possible regarding our beloved patron saint of Orthodoxy in North America. This page has been updated numerous times since with new materials, books, icons, and much more. Scroll down for audio, videos, books (including children's titles), excerpts from St Herman's teachings on the Orthodox Way, online articles, icons and much more, all related not only to St Herman, but to his message for us today, which can be summed up in his rightly famous word:
As a special blessing, the final entry at bottom features the icon of St Herman by Archbishop Job of Beloved and Eternal Memory, which was painted and presented to the Holy Resurrection Church (Kodiak, AK) for the Glorification on August 9, 1970. This icon shows Fr Herman standing on Spruce Island with mainland Alaska in the background, holding his blessing cross (which is preserved along with St Herman's relics at Holy Resurrection Church), and has become one of the two main prototype icons for depiction of our patron saint of North America. Thus our beloved archpastor Job is eternally connected to the humble monk and saint of Spruce Island, whose spirit and example he certainly emulated. Memory Eternal, Vladyka Job!
Troparion to St Herman (Tone 4)
O blessed Father Herman of Alaska,
North Star of Christ's Holy Church!
The light of your holy life and great deeds
guides those who follow the Orthodox Way.
Together we lift high the Holy Cross
you planted firmly in America.
Let all behold and glorify
singing His Holy Resurrection!
Immerse yourself in the soul-vivifying life of St Herman through the books, articles and icons below!
Herman ~ A Wilderness Saint
This new title is translated from Russian and contains material not previously available in English, which only became accessible in Russia after the fall of communism. Through its use of primary sources such as letters and reports, St. Herman’s life and character is revealed with startling clarity, together with many aspects of the wider Russian ecclesiastic mission to America of which he was an integral part. The three appendices bring the story of New Valaam up to our own time, offer details of the saint’s canonization by both the OCA and ROCOR in 1970 and provide more biographical background to some of the eyewitnesses to the saint’s life. The primary text is supported by easily referenced endnotes and rounded off by an index.
Paperback, 260 pages — Available in eBook format.
Also available through Amazon.com
St Herman of Alaska ~ His Life and Service
St Herman of Alaska Press
Presented here is a Life of St. Herman, originally commissioned by Abbot Damascene of Valaam and incorporating the latest research on the Saint’s early years, as well as a complete Vigil Service to the Saint, composed by the St. Herman of Alaska Brotherhood and Archbishop Alypy (Gamanovich) of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia.
Softcover, 48 pages, $9.
St Herman of Alaska Press
In 1914, F.A. Golder, a leading scholar on the American Northwest at the turn of the century, spent two weeks at Valaam Monastery located on Lake Ladoga (between present-day Russia and Finland). Golder went to Valaam to learn of this missionary monk who was sent to America to bring the Orthodox Faith to the natives of the land.
72 pages, illustrated with paper-cut illustrations, paperback, $8.00
North Star ~ St Herman of Alaska, Dorrie Papademetriou
St Vladimir Seminary Press
Hardcover, full color, 8.5 x 11, 32 pp, Price: US $18.00
Spruce Island Alaska, A Pilgrim's Guide
St Herman of Alaska Press
Softcover, 48 pages, full color, $8.
Out of print. Small quantities may be found here.
St Herman of Alaska,
Written and Illustrated by S.A. Smith
Regina Orthodox Press
Paperback, Full Color, 28 pages, $9.95. Out of print. Used copies may be available through Amazon.
TWO UNIQUE TITLES!
"A monk like me, fleeing the glory of men, will come and live on Spruce Island.” —St. Herman of Alaska
Abba Gerasim, and his Letters to his Brotherhood
St Herman of Alaska Press
240 pages, illustrated, full-color cover, paperback, $10.00. Out of print. Small quantities may be available here.
Father Gerasim of New Valaam
St Herman of Alaska Press
112 pages, illustrated, full-color cover, paperback, $5.00. Out of print. Small quantities may be available here.
A SPIRITUAL CLASSIC!
Out of Print, but available used through Amazon.com.
Possibly available to borrow from the Christ the Savior Library.
Selections available online; see below following book description.
Little Russian Philokalia, Vol. III, St Herman of Alaska
St Herman of Alaska Press
St Herman and Mount Athos ~ A Spiritual Connection
The Living Witness of the Holy Mountain: Contemporary Voices from Mount Athos, by Hieromonk Alexander Golitzin
St Tikhon Seminary Press
Softcover, 310 pages, $24.95
We offer here a collection of links to other sites, a digest of resources on our beloved St Herman. Here you will find the Life of St Herman, OCA articles and photos of his glorification in 1970, the Akathist Hymn to the Saint, icons, and more. We hope this small effort of love and devotion for our Patron Saint of Orthodoxy in North America blesses you, and inspires you— "from this day, from this hour, from this minute!"
Description of the Life Icon of St Herman at right, including each of the panels surrounding the main image. The original icon is extremely large, and is preserved in the main church at St Tikhon of Zadonsk Monastery in South Canaan PA, with a portion of St Herman's relics for the faithful to venerate. Long unavailable, this beloved icon can be ordered from Uncut Mountain Supply.
Wikipedia Article on St Herman: Very useful, and condenses a wide range of information about St Herman's joint glorification by the OCA and ROCOR, his impact on the Orthodox Church, and his veneration. Features numerous links to other resources.
Canon to St Herman - NEW FOR 2020 - From the Service to our Holy and God-Bearing Father, Saint Herman, Wonderworker of Alaska.
Extensive Photo Collection from the Kodiak (OCA) Glorification of St Herman, including: pilgrimage to Monk's Lagoon and Spruce Island; Vigil, Hierarchical Liturgy and Procession at Holy Resurrection Church in Kodiak; St Herman's reliquary, klobuk, hand (blessing) cross, paraman (chains and cross) and more. Almost four dozen photos in all! (OrthodoxPhotos.com)
All Saints of North America Church (Hamilton Ontario, CA) resources on St Herman: Some overlap with the citations above, with several additional articles of enormous value. Includes resources on all the North American saints and righteous ones.
The Valaam Monastery Prima Vita of St Herman (1864) (from The Little Russian Philokalia Vol III).
A Treasury of St Herman's Spirituality (from The Little Russian Philokalia Vol III).
St Herman on 'The Way of a Christian'
(From a Letter of St Herman, dated June 20, 1820)
The Importance of St Herman for Orthodox Christians in America Today
"From this day, from this hour, from this minute,
let us love God above all, and strive to fulfill His holy will!"
* Schema-Hieromonk Ambrose (Young).
ST. HERMAN OF ALASKA (c.1756 - 1837)
Feast Days: August 9th (canonization), December 13th (repose)
Posted at Firebird Videos
A beautifully carved wooden reliquary in the Resurrection Church contains the coffin with Father Herman's relics (photo to the right). On top of the reliquary are: a large icon of the saint (center); as well as the "paramon" cross and metal chains (on the left) that he wore (shown in the icon at the top); and his klobuk (monk's hat) (in the glass box on the right). Also to be found at this church is Father Herman's hand cross, which he is shown holding in the icon at the top.
This article was written by Jane M. deVyver, M.Th., Ph.D., and the photos are by the author. The icon at top left was painted/written by His Grace, Bishop Job of Chicago (formerly, Fr. John Osacky), and presented to Holy Resurrection Church by him at the time of the glorification of St. Herman on August 9, 1970. The second icon was painted/written by Fr. Theodore Jurewicz of Erie, PA, and is at St. Innocent Orthodox Church in Redford, MI; it contains a small particle of the holy relics of St. Herman.
Amen! And glory be to God!